Sometimes a style of game is synonymous with a certain game. Falling tetrominos are Tetris, bubble popping is Bust-a-Move and bouncing around a screen clearing the screen is Peggle. So it is interesting to see how the developers of Roundguard try and do something different.
From the very first moment it is clear that this is a Pegglelike. Is that a genre now? If it is we claim to be the first to use it. If you’ve ever played Peggle then you’ll get a clear understanding of basic mechanics.
What Roundguard does though, is rather than just be a copycat, it tries to bring a twist to the tried and tested style. Upon initial inspection you see the core ideas of Peggle. The pots (blue pegs) and the enemies (orange pegs) allow you to traverse each level and give you an end goal.
Rather than triggering abilities via set pegs, you are instead given various abilities you can upgrade and swap. These are then triggered using a press of a button.
Rather than having a set number of ‘balls’ you are instead given a HP meter, which when empty means game over. This is vital to the whole structure of the game, which I’ll come to in a moment. Then to use abilities you use mana from a meter.
Enemies attack back which will cause HP to be lost and if you land on the spikes at the bottom (rather than the comfy cushion) you’ll also lose HP. Thankfully there are red and blue potion bottles which when hit will replenish those meters.
Each level has a different way of being played. These are marked on the map with an icon that show you what you may encounter (Yes there is a map). Different enemy types have different effect. Some may attack you back directly, whereas others may give you status effects. It adds a level of strategic thinking that works rather well.
On you side, you can get trinkets, upgrades, abilities and weapons that will improve the damage you can do, the damage you take and also give you positive status effects.
The core gameplay itself is certainly varied enough from Peggle, that Roundguard can stand out on its own. It isn’t quite as great as Peggle, but it is plenty of fun.
To frame it all. the game is actually a roguelike. You care given a map to work through across numerous acts. Think the one you see on Slay the Spire and you’ll get the idea.
As you progress you’ll collect gold which is used to determine your score for each run. Giving you something to aim for on leaderboards with all the various filters you’d come to expect.
Because this is a roguelike, each run is started from scratch. However you do get the chance to bring a trinket with you for the next run as a bonus. It doesn’t do anything particularly new or exciting, but it does just work well.
What you do have here is a package that you can easily dip in and out of and because of the familiar controls Roundguard feels comfortable and reassuring.
By no means perfect, but there is plenty of love and worthy of a place on your machine.